A Coaching Power Tool created by Josh Paulsen
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
You have to die, everything else is a matter of choice Unknown author
- I have to wake up early tomorrow and take my kids to school.
- I have to go to the gym this week.
- I have to attend that function at work.
- I have to lose some weight.
- I have to finish my Power Tool!
How many times do we tell ourselves we have to do something?
Upon further inspection, what do we really have to do? This list gets pretty short if we are really honest with ourselves. You don’t even have to wear clothes when you leave the house! Would you get some odd looks? Maybe get arrested? Sure, there would be consequences, but you don’t have to wear clothes. You choose to wear clothes.
How do you feel when you have to do something?
Thinking in these terms creates a feeling of resistance and of being a victim. When we get pushed, whether it is by someone else or even from our own doing, it is a natural reaction to push back and negative consequences are inevitable. Below are just a few examples of the consequences we may experience:
- Excuse making
- Poor work
- Minimal effort
- Negative self talk
When you say you have to do something, what you are really saying is “If I had my way, I would be doing something else. But I don’t have a choice. I am powerless.” It is also often associated with an “or else” consequence driven by fear. Your reason for going through with the task comes from a negative place of avoiding some undesired consequence.
It may seem like a small shift, but when you choose to do something, it releases energy inside of you and it is based on free will. It is your idea, your choice. You are in control. You have the power and freedom to act and are a willing participant.
How do you feel when you choose to do something?
There is a sense of ownership and empowerment. You are in control and it is your choice.
The natural by-product of this attitude is:
- Striving for excellence
- It what areas of your life are you feeling resistance?
- What are you avoiding and putting off?
- Are there things you feel you have to do?
When you find yourself feeling like you have to do something, ask yourself:
- What would happen if I don’t do it?
- Am I ok with the consequences?
- What are the benefits of my taking action?
- Why is this really my choice?
If our clients are restrictively motivated it takes away their ownership and accountability for their behavior and outcomes. They must constantly be pushed. They fix blame for their failure on someone else and constantly find excuses. They lack drive and energy and may be stuck but not sure why. They feel powerless.
As a coach, it is important to enable our clients to see that they are in control. Help them to realize that they are 100% responsible for their actions and they have the power of choice. Sometimes it can be as simple as mirroring back the language a client is using. They may be using words and phrases like “have to”, “should”, “need to”, and “must” in a disempowering way without even being aware of it. They may have been feeling or thinking like a victim for so long that they aren’t fully aware of when it even began. We can help them see where they are giving their power away by asking the following:
- Tell me why this is important to you.
- What do you have to gain?
- Who has the power in this situation?
- What will happen if you don’t do it?
- How will you feel when this is completed?
If our clients are constructively motivated, they have ownership and accountability for their actions and results. They are self-motivated and have energy and internal drive. They look for solutions and not excuses.
- What are some of the things in your life you feel like you have to do?
- How is that perspective holding you back?
- What would it look like if there were no more things you have to do?
- What are some other ways you can help your clients break out of a feeling of “have to?”
Thought Patterns for a Successful Career – Pacific Institute